Skanska has signed a contract with Amtrak to rehabilitate and restore maintenance facilities for the Next Generation Acela 21 high-speed rail service in Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York, USA.
The contract is worth about $40 million, and the work is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2021 when Amtrak plans to introduce its next generation fleet.
The three maintenance facilities were initially built by Skanska 20 years ago. The rehabilitation will include structural modifications and industrial equipment upgrades to accommodate the new trains .
Amtrak is contracting with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trains that will replace the equipment used to provide Amtrak’s Acela Express service. The contract is part of $2.45 billion that will be invested on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC) as part of a multifaceted modernization program to renew and expand the Acela Express service.
“Amtrak is taking the necessary actions to keep our customers, the Northeast region and the American economy moving forward,” said Amtrak President & CEO Joe Boardman. “These trainsets and the modernization and improvement of infrastructure will provide our customers with the mobility and experience of the future.”
The new trains will have one-third more passenger seats, modern amenities such as improved Wi-Fi access, personal outlets, USB ports and adjustable reading lights at every seat, enhanced food service and a smoother, more reliable ride.
The new trains will allow for increased service including half-hourly Acela Express service between Washington D.C. and New York City during peak hours, and hourly service between New York City and Boston.
“The Northeast Corridor is a national economic engine that carries a workforce contributing $50 billion annually to the national GDP,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Amtrak’s continued investment in modernizing its fleet will only serve to enhance this vital rail link between Boston and Washington D.C. while allowing for safer and faster travel at a time when passenger demand is expected to rise. Strengthening our nation’s infrastructure is essential to the economic growth of our region and the nation and this investment by Amtrak will help ensure the reliable service travelers expect.”
Amtrak is funding the trainsets and infrastructure improvements through the FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program that will be repaid through growth in NEC revenues.
In addition to the trains, Amtrak is also investing in infrastructure needed to improve the on-board and station customer experience that will accommodate the increased high-speed rail service levels.
Amtrak will invest in significant station improvements at Washington Union Station, Moynihan Station New York, as well as track capacity and ride quality improvements to the NEC that will benefit both Acela Express riders and other Amtrak and commuter passengers. Amtrak will also modify fleet maintenance facilities to accommodate the new trains.
The trains will be manufactured at Alstom’s Hornell and Rochester, N.Y., facilities, creating 400 local jobs. Additionally, parts for the new trains will come from more than 350 suppliers in more than 30 states, generating an additional 1,000 jobs across the country.
All of the new trains are expected to be in service, and the current fleet retired, by the end of 2022.